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Standing Barbell Curl 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Main Variation Strength


Standing Barbell Curl
Standing Barbell Curl

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


Secondary Targets



Force Type

Pull (Bilateral)

Required Equipment


Fitness Level













The Standing Barbell Curl is a classic and effective resistance exercise primarily targeting the biceps, with secondary engagement of the forearms. Utilizing a barbell as the required equipment, this exercise is performed in a standing position, emphasizing the isolation and contraction of the bicep muscles. To execute the movement, individuals grip the barbell with palms facing forward, arms fully extended, and then flex the elbows to lift the bar towards the shoulders. The Standing Barbell Curl not only contributes to the development of well-defined biceps but also engages the forearms, enhancing grip strength. This fundamental exercise is a staple in arm workouts, providing a versatile and accessible means of building upper arm strength and promoting overall arm aesthetics.

How to Perform

  1. Begin the standing barbell curl, a fundamental exercise in bicep development, by grabbing a barbell or Olympic bar with an underhand grip, approximately shoulder-width apart. This grip orientation optimizes bicep engagement throughout the movement, with palms facing upward.

  2. Assume a straight-up standing position, keeping feet either together or, for enhanced stability, consider placing one foot slightly back. Ensure your back remains straight, and arms fully extended, creating an ideal starting posture for the exercise.

  3. Maintain a slight distance between the barbell and your body throughout the movement, avoiding any contact. This approach emphasizes bicep isolation and challenges the muscles effectively during each repetition.

  4. Keep your gaze forward, elbows close to your sides, and maintain a stable body position. Execute a slow and controlled curling motion, bringing the barbell up towards your shoulders while keeping the rest of your body still.

  5. At the top of the movement, intensify the contraction by squeezing your biceps forcefully. This maximizes muscle engagement and contributes to the overall effectiveness of the exercise.

  6. Gradually lower the barbell back to the starting position in a controlled manner. The descent phase is as crucial as the ascent for comprehensive muscle activation.

  7. Repeat the standing barbell curl for the desired number of repetitions, ensuring a deliberate and focused approach to each movement. This exercise not only targets the biceps but also provides secondary benefits for forearm strength and development.


  1. Ensure strict form by avoiding the common mistake of using body momentum to lift the weight during the standing barbell curl. Cheating by swinging the body back diminishes the effectiveness of the exercise; focus on maintaining a fixed body position to isolate and engage the biceps.

  2. Prevent another commonly observed error by keeping the elbows fixed and close to the sides throughout the movement. Allowing the elbows to drift forward compromises the targeted engagement of the biceps; concentrate on a controlled curling motion with the elbows tucked in.

  3. Emphasize controlled movements by not letting the weight drop quickly during the set. Maintaining control throughout each repetition is essential for optimal muscle activation; resist the urge to let the barbell descend rapidly, ensuring a deliberate and controlled descent for comprehensive muscle engagement.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid Excessive Body Swinging: To prevent mistakes and injuries, refrain from swinging your body excessively during the Standing Barbell Curl. Swinging the body back to assist in lifting the weight is a common error that shifts the focus away from the biceps. Keep your body fixed and stable throughout the movement, ensuring that only your biceps are engaged in lifting the barbell.

  2. Prevent Elbow Movement Forward: To maximize the isolation of the biceps and prevent energy wastage, avoid allowing your elbows to come forward during the curl. Keeping the elbows fixed and close to the sides ensures that the biceps bear the primary load, promoting targeted muscle engagement. Be mindful of maintaining this elbow position throughout the entire range of motion.

  3. Steer Clear of Rapid Descent: To optimize energy expenditure and focus on the target muscle groups, avoid letting the barbell drop quickly during the descent phase of the exercise. A rapid descent not only wastes energy but also limits the effectiveness of the exercise. Control the lowering phase, allowing the muscles to resist the weight and maintaining tension for enhanced muscle activation.

  4. Prevent Gripping Too Narrow or Wide: Avoid gripping the barbell either too narrow or too wide. Finding the optimal grip width is crucial for efficient muscle engagement. A grip that is too narrow may place excess strain on the wrists, while a grip that is too wide may compromise bicep activation. Experiment with grip width to find what feels most comfortable and effective for your individual anatomy.

  5. Avoid Excessive Weight: Steer clear of using excessive weight that compromises proper form and control. Lifting too heavy can lead to poor technique, potential injuries, and reduced focus on the target muscles. Choose a weight that allows you to perform the exercise with strict form, ensuring that the biceps and forearms are appropriately challenged.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.


Alternative exercises in fitness refer to different movements or activities that target similar muscle groups or serve the same training purpose as the primary exercise. These alternative exercises can be used as substitutes when the original exercise is unavailable or challenging to perform due to various reasons such as equipment limitations, injuries, or personal preferences.


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